Murru is an archaologist and the curator of the Menhir statues
Museum in Laconi. He managed the excavations at Is
Circquittus. We asked him a few questions on the archaeo
research in Sardinia and on the Museum.
Is it longtime
that the menhir statues and other megalithic monuments such
as standing stones and dolmens are studied in Sardinia?
the beginning in Sardinia the archaeological research was devoted
mainly to the Nuragic civilization. That happened also thanks
to the discovery of the great site of Su
Nuraxi at Barumini, made by professor Lilliu in the Fifties.
And you know, the nuraghi are scattered all around our island
and they represent a kind of "national" mark for us.
Well, at the end of the 19th century something was already found
in some caves, but only with the discovery of the findings of
Ozieri, we were able to date precisely and better define the
people living in Sardinia in the late Neolithic (3400-2700 BC),
the so called "Ozieri culture". This was a very important
and homogeneous civilization in Sardinia. They were farmers
and shepherds, they lived in large villages and traded the obsidian
of Monte Arci. And they built megalithic monuments. At the beginning
they buried their deads in the domus de janas, tombs cut in
the rock, but later they built more elaborated graves, standing
stones and dolmens.
The very first standing stones were simply rough standing monoliths,
but soon they became "protoantropomorphic", that is
to say with a smoother side and a more recognizable human shape.
I think that in this phase the monoliths could possibly have
been coloured or also dressed or provided with tools or weapons,
even if we still don't have any direct evidence of this.
In the last period the standing stones became undoubtedly antropomorphic,
with a carefully carved ogival shape, up to the menhir-statues
with carved noses and eyebrows, breasts or weapons found around
Could you find
these menhir-statues all around Sardinia or only here?
the making of antropomorphic standing stones began to decline
in the island, here in central Sardinia, in a restricted area
of 25 km around Laconi, it increased and evolved, becoming the
beautiful menhir-statues you can see in the museum. They were
erected during the last phase of the Ozieri culture, when the
local tribes met other cultures and began the use of metals.
The antropomorphic standing stones are spread over several ancient
cultures, from Spain to the Caucasus. In Italy our menhir-statues
have some common features with the stelae-statues of the Lunigiana
valley or with those found in the alpine regions.
Can you tell
us something about the museum of Laconi?
we opened the museum four years ago. Its main aim was to learn
more about the menhir-statues and the civilization who erected
them. Starting from scratch. Then we studied which kind of visitors
were interested in such a museum. Now we are ready for a new
phase: we have worked on a multimedia support that you can already
explore with the computers in the museum. Now we have to finish
it and put it on CD. And we are planning to put all the material
online too, creating an international network of museums like
Any other future project?
would like to create the "Valley of the standing stones".
At first the best way to protect the monoliths was simply to
put them in the museum, but now it is time to show them in their
original context, maybe with a duplicate stone.
Which is the attitude of Sardinian people regarding
their megalithic monuments?
is a conservative island. It is difficult that a mark of the
past is destroyed on purpose. Not because it is fully understood,
but just because it is unlikely that a shepherd destroys a part
of his own world.
We have been also helped by some good regional laws (along with
Sicily, Valle d'Aosta, Trentino-Alto Adige and Friuli-Venezia
Giulia, Sardinia has got more autonomy than the other Italian
regions). A remarkably good law was no. 28, year 1984, recently
improved by law no. 4, year 2000, that gives assistance and
support to co-operatives and companies working also on archaeological
projects, museums and archaeo parks.
Are there legends
or stories on the menhir-statues of Laconi?
is a beautiful story explaining some of the carvings on the
stones: when the Nuragic queen Iddocca knew from one of her
knights that her beloved daughter was killed during a raid,
she threw some stones far away. She was so broken-hearted and
upset that she left her fingers' mark on the stones.